1 in 133 - It's a Big Deal 1 in 133

Days to Clear GF Labeling


This site is a collaboration between the founders of 1in133.org, Jules Shepard and John Forberger, and the American Celiac Disease Alliance.

More Info

What is Celiac Disease?
How Celiac Disease Compares to Others
Press Release

Labeling Proposal Resources

What is Celiac Disease

Excerpted with permission from author Jules E. Dowler Shepard, from The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten Free (DaCapo Press 2008).

One in 133 Americans has Celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue, coeliac disease, non-tropical sprue or gluten sensitive enteropathy), a chronic and permanent sensitivity to the food protein gluten, found in the grains wheat, barley and rye.  Developing the disease requires three things: a genetic predisposition; exposure to gluten through digestion; and a trigger to start this atypical immune system response.  It can occur in people of all ages once exposed to gluten, and is the most common genetic disorder in North America and Europe, although it is found in populations all over the world.

….[C]eliac disease (CD) is classified as an auto-immune disease, which simply means that the body attacks itself in an inappropriate immune system reaction. In CD, the reaction is caused specifically by exposure to gliadin, a protein of the food molecule gluten found in wheat, barley and rye …

Gluten intolerance is another condition that requires adherence to a gluten-free diet but does not rise to the level of an autoimmune disease. Food intolerances occur when the body is incapable of metabolizing certain foods, typically because it lacks certain enzymes necessary to break down particular food components. Those with gluten intolerance often have the same overt symptoms as those with CD, but they test negative for celiac disease by bloodwork and endoscopy. They learn through trial and error that gluten is the culprit for their uncomfortable symptoms, and once they adopt a gluten-free diet, live an otherwise normal healthy life.

How Does Prevalence of
Celiac Disease Compare?


Number of American Sufferers:

Gluten Sensitivity

18 million Americans
(Alessio Fasano, 2011)

Celiac Disease at least 3 million Americans
Autism 556,000 Americans
Crohn's Disease 500,000 Americans
Cystic Fibrosis 30,000 Americans
Down Syndrome 350,000 Americans
(42,000 of those diagnosed also have celiac disease)
Epilepsy 2.7 million Americans
Hemophilia 17,000 Americans
Infertility (unexplained) 610,000 American women
(36,600 of those also have celiac disease)
Lupus 1.5 million Americans
Multiple Sclerosis 400,000 Americans
Parkinson's Disease 1 million Americans
Rheumatoid Arthritis  2.1 million Americans
Type 1 Diabetes 3 million Americans   
(180,000 of those diagnosed also have celiac disease)
Ulcerative Colitis 500,000 Americans


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